Posts Tagged ‘wedding’

Today, the body of believers to whom we have committed ourselves, communed with each other and with our Lord Jesus over the elements of His Supper.  These days, I am trying to discipline myself to personal reflection as the elements are being passed around – to review that “I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior” (Newton).


I want to be mindful of the great honor I have received – “once His enemy, now seated at the table” – wonder of all wonders!  Further, this memorial meal foreshadows the meal we will share with King Jesus in eternity at his wedding feast when the Lord himself will dress himself for service… and He will come and serve those who have watched for his return (Luke 12:35-38) – what?!? how can this be?


My time around the Lord’s Table has been enriched by a message given by Sinclair Ferguson at the 2017 Pastors’ Basics Conference sponsored by Parkside Church, Chagrin Falls, OH, and their pastor, Alistair Begg.  Ferguson likens the Lord’s Supper to a dress rehearsal for that glorious day when we, Christ’s bride, set apart by Jesus himself, will be presented to our Bridegroom in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing – holy and without blemish, having been cleansed by Him by the washing with the Word (Ephesians 5:26-27).


These days it’s common for the wedding party to celebrate a joyous meal together after the rehearsal.  Ferguson points out that the rehearsal dinner or Groom’s Dinner, as we call it, is traditionally paid for by the groom’s father.  And so it is with the meal we celebrate in our churches around the Lord’s table – it is a meal paid for by our Groom’s Father…  and at the dearest of costs (John 3:16).


Similarly, the banquet we celebrate following a wedding is traditionally paid by the Bride’s Father… and so it will be on that resplendent Day. The bride’s Father, our Father, will have provided all for that Day – that day of rejoicing when we will glory in our beloved Groom and need never be parted from Him ever more.   No wonder we will sing and shout the victory – “Hallelujah!  All I have is Christ!”

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Dana and I are so happy and blessed to add another member to our family tree – our lovely Caroline Maria Werner Young.  Can it be a week has passed since their happy wedding in the Cities?  We have so much to be thankful for in the wedding of these two who committed their lives before God – to each other and to His kingdom.


Indeed, on their wedding day, God extended His first of what we trust will be many graces in their lives.  The days around the wedding had been “African hot.”  The night before, just as the rehearsal came to an end and friends and family were driving across town to our dinner, a torrential rain came up to usher in the evening.  We were thankful to be in a room of candle and twinkle lights as the rain poured outside.


We had prayed and prayed for months about the weather for the wedding day since the couple had an outdoor ceremony planned at the place of their reception.  True, everything could be moved indoors if needed, but the hope was to be married outdoors in that beautiful setting.  According to pattern, the day of their wedding, Friday, May 25th, was a hot day too, but it was not as humid as it had previously been. It was sunny and bright (lovely for photos).


However, as we headed west toward the venue that afternoon, it was hard to not notice the dark clouds rolling in from that direction… and again the prayers began.  Through the next hour and a half as guests began to arrive, we watched the sky become darker and darker and the wind pick up dramatically.  Folks were checking local radar weather and reporting various things:  “Rain to pass through area quickly and then be gone”; “Hail in eight minutes”; and asking, “Can we delay the service maybe 15 minutes to let the storm pass?”  While others wondered openly what’s to happen, many of us kept praying.  At least once, our trusty crew of two went out to reset chairs upright which the wind had blown down and I wondered how we’d dry all those chairs well enough if the rain did come through.  At one point I was told plans were being made to move the chairs in from the amphitheater.  Not a tragedy, but not what our couple had hoped for.


Then, just 15-20 minutes before the wedding was to begin, the sky seemed to be brightening and the winds were becoming gentler.  And as we watched, our gracious God carefully moved that rain and wind to another location, giving us a most pleasantly calm, mildly warm, gentle evening (and dry chairs) for their lovely outdoor wedding.  The wedding went off at the appointed time and moved back inside for an altogether lovely reception and dance.  Just like the couple at the Canaan wedding, Bryce and Caroline received the first answered prayer of their wedded life!


Now as they go through life together, we pray that this young couple will always be mindful of the goodness of their God – our “abounding in loving-kindness” God!  We pray they will grow in strength together as they seek to bring Him glory in their newly created family and that God will lead and guard them always.  Amen.

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Seth & Joy - kissing
Dana and I are so pleased to welcome a new member to our family! Our son, Seth, recently married a kindred spirit, Joy Schneider. We are glowing in the aftermath of our trip to Joy’s Oregon home for the wedding. We found a house to rent in the Portland area, so in those precious days before the wedding, our whole family was under one roof – Dana and I, Seth, all of our kiddos and grandsons – what a gift!

We spent our days in praise and worship. We joined the Schneider family Sunday morning at Pastor Jeff Lacine’s Sellwood Baptist Church. We relished the fellowship of family and friends at the Groom’s Dinner – it was amazing how many of their friends made the trip from the Midwest to help us celebrate and we were blessed to have family from home and Michigan with us as well!  And, as He did in Cana, the Lord attended the evening garden wedding which was bathed in God’s Word and followed by a happy reception and dance filled with joy and laughter.

We ask our overly generous and kind Father for his constant guidance and care for this new family and our prayers envision a joyous household leaning heavily on the breast of their heavenly Father and spreading the fragrance of Christ to all they encounter.

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Sherlock V
In a past post, I shared a poem which my son-in-law, Andrew, had chosen for his wedding to my daughter, Ashley, entitled Love Her More and Love Her Less.  This past month, Andrew enjoyed the privilege of being the best man at his only brother’s wedding.  For the occasion, he wrote his own version of brotherly advice.  I think it is worthy to be added to Piper’s advice and comes from the heart of one who is in the throes of young married life and welcoming his brother to it.


Advice to a New Groom by Andrew Jacobson*

You’ve been given something greater than treasure
In which God calls you to delight with great pleasure.
So to help you down that path, here’s some advice
For how to properly love your wife.

Should your wife try to communicate,
Though your ability to talk isn’t innate,
Try to keep up a healthy conversation diet
And remember to love her more than quiet.

If you feel that she has gotten too relaxed
And hasn’t completed enough tasks,
Resist a workaholic’s proclivity
And love her more than productivity.

If, by some strange irrationality,
She should keep you from punctuality,
Resist the urge to leave her behind
And love her more than being on time.

If your wife should crowd the house with people
To the point where you wonder if it’s legal,
Or if she volunteers you for her family’s vacation,
Remember to love her more than isolation.

If your laundry pile is getting high
And you wonder why she keeps passing it by,
Consider that she is not getting paid
And remember to love her more than a maid.

If you start drowning yourself in pages
Seeking to digest the wisdom of sages
And forget how good she looks,
Remember to love her more than books.

If you over invest in your learning,
Always and only to your studies returning
And begin to make your wife secondary
Remember to love her more than seminary.

If she would give you confirmation
To pursue even more education
And you obtain the title of Ph.D.,
Remember to love her more than a degree.

If by grace she should be with child,
You’ll find her attitude might move past mild.
Do whatever she bids you, please!
And remember to love her more than ease.

Should you be awoken by your newborn’s nightly sob
And roll over to remind her it’s her job,
Before you go back to counting sheep,
Remember to love her more than sleep.

Should the spending, saving, and budgeting detract
And on your marriage have a negative impact,
Remember to love your earthly honey
More than all this world’s money.

Above all this, look to our Savior’s life
As the supreme model for loving your wife.
Consider the way in which he came,
Humbly setting aside all He could claim.

Consider the way in which he died,
Suffering the cross, to save his bride.
Consider the way his work proceeds
Always for his bride how he intercedes.

How he stands against all rivals as her defender
That he might present her to himself in splendor;
How he washes her in the water of His Word
So that love for him would be constantly stirred.

Groom, remember today’s I do is just the start
And you’ve made a vow “’til death do us part.”
So with this last word do you I send,
Love your bride faithfully to the end.


* Personal names have been removed with Andrew’s permission.

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Bev SchmidtMy dear Auntie Bev has been one of those much needed godly, good influences in my life.  She has been Providentially woven tightly into the fabric of my life for which I am grateful.  She is the first of my dad’s siblings to pass and was mother to an only child… both which leave a somberness in the wake of her departing.  Personally, I already feel the weight of her loss and will miss her a great deal.  I know, however, that my loss is temporary and I look forward to dining and rejoicing with her without end at the great Wedding.


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Jodie and Kim snip
The daughter of my dear friend was married today.  It was a beautiful fall day, a beautiful wedding.  Although I’ve had the happy blessing of participating in my own daughter’s wedding, there is something to being outside of the hustle and bustle of hosting and being able to observe and celebrate… and remember.

Jodie and I met our senior year in high school where we were thrown together in a retro singing group, The Velvetones, singing songs from the 30’s and 40’s.  In college she invited me to live with her for a semester on campus.  She was a bridesmaid in my wedding and six months later, I in hers.  She and her husband moved away to the Northwest for schooling, but after, made their way back home.  They had two daughters who were in the same classes as my two sons at the same school Jodie and I attended.  And now we are watching our children pick up where we began as they find and make their own ways in the world.

We have laughed and cried and counseled and encouraged each other over parenting, parents, marriage, our work, our walk (both spiritual and physical), life, and death, the future, the past, the present… all of it.  We don’t get together near enough, but she is in my heart at all times, she helps me want to be a better person, and she is the fragrance of Christ to me, always.

The opening stanza of Robert Brownings’ poem, “Rabbi ben Ezra” is generally applied these days to wedded love, and no wonder.  The now famous courtship letters written between Browning and his future wife, the poetess Elizabeth Barrett, expose Robert as an articulate romantic.  I, too, embrace the stanza for Dana and me, primarily as it looks to future grace and yields itself to a sovereign God.  But might we not spare just a bit to apply to all our life-long relationships, whether friend or family?  If so, I extend it, this evening, to my dear friend.

Who knew back then, what God would make of us?  Who knows today, what will come our way?  But we trust in our God who revealed himself to us in our youth and who plans our beginnings and our endings.  Thank you for your friendship, dear Jodie.  I am blessed to have you in my life.

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith “A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid.”

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My dad was married yesterday.

We lost my mom in 2004 to cancer and later my dad lost his 2nd wife to a stroke. His new wife, Judy, lost her own husband over a decade ago to a heart attack.  Yet in finding each other, both have been willing to open their hearts and to love again.   It is a sobering thing to watch two souls pledge “until death parts us” when both know first hand what a vow like that actually means.

Both my dad, Ray, and Judy love the Lord and their wedding was a reflection of that love.  At their reception many kind words were expressed, of course, but two of particular note.  Judy’s son-in-law got up to let us know that he never had much good things to say about mother-in-laws, but in marrying Judy’s daughter, he did not gain the proverbial mother-in-law; but instead he gained a mom.

In turn, my dad’s brother and best man, Ronnie, gave the kindest salute of my dad that I’ve ever heard and one I will always think of when I read 1 Corinthians 13.  This familiar passage was one of the texts used in the wedding earlier that day.  My dear uncle turned to my dad and said that his brother, Ray, exemplifies this passage in every way…

“Ray is patient and Ray is kind.  He does not envy or boast.  Ray is not arrogant or rude. He does not insist on his own way. Ray is not irritable or resentful and he does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but Ray rejoices with the truth.  He bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.”

Those of us who know him well would have to agree.

God’s blessings to you, Dad and Judy.  I wish you everything good in your life together and I know that God’s grace will be provided in your future days as it has been in your uniting.

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Happy first year anniversary to my dear lovely daughter, Ashley, and her fine husband, Andrew!  Can it be a year since that beautiful wedding ceremony that made so much of Him who had brought you together?  Weren’t we blessed with a <<<warm>>> sunny day for your outdoor pictures, a joy-filled ceremony (with poppers and all), and a lovely setting for your reception and dance?  I know your desire was to see Christ high and lifted up as you began married life – a living parable to the world of Christ and his bride – and we have seen that already as you finish up your first year together.  God has proven Himself most gracious to you, hasn’t He?

This has been an incredible year for this young couple – they got married; Andrew continued in his third year of seminary while Ashley took a full-time job as a personal banker even while completing five distance classes to finish up her college coursework; they found themselves expecting several months into their first year (the Lord’s good and blessed timing for this family); Ashley took (and passed) both her education and her music certification exams; Andrew interviewed and was hired for full-time church employment as Pastor of Discipleship; and surely the highlight — A & A became parents to little Calvin just five days ago — whew!

Dad’s and my prayer for you is that you would go forward into the world, drinking deeply from the fountain of Christ’s love and may you continue to see the Lord’s good hand in his protection and guidance for you and your family all of your days.

– – – – –

In remembering a blessed day one year ago, I share the excerpt of a poem that Andrew chose for their wedding ceremony.  It is a wedding poem of advice by Pastor John Piper to his own son, Karsten, called “Love Her More and Love Her Less.”


If you now aim your wife to bless,
Then love her more and love her less.

If in the coming years, by some
Strange providence of God, you come
To have the riches of this age,
And, painless, stride across the stage
Beside your wife, be sure in health
To love her, love her more than wealth.

And if your life is woven in
A hundred friendships, and you spin
A festal fabric out of all
Your sweet affections, great and small,
Be sure, no matter how it rends,
To love her, love her more than friends.

And if there comes a point when you
Are tired, and pity whispers, “Do
Yourself a favor. Come, be free;
Embrace the comforts here with me.”
Know this! Your wife surpasses these:
So love her, love her, more than ease.

And when your marriage bed is pure,
And there is not the slightest lure
Of lust for any but your wife,
And all is ecstasy in life,
A secret all of this protects:
Go love her, love her, more than sex.

And if your taste becomes refined,
And you are moved by what the mind
Of man can make, and dazzled by
His craft, remember that the “why”
Of all this work is in the heart;
So love her, love her more than art.

And if your own should someday be
The craft that critics all agree
Is worthy of a great esteem,
And sales exceed your wildest dream,
Beware the dangers of a name.
And love her, love her more than fame.

And if, to your surprise, not mine,
God calls you by some strange design
To risk your life for some great cause,
Let neither fear nor love give pause,
And when you face the gate of death,
Then love her, love her more than breath.

Yes, love her, love her, more than life;
O, love the woman called your wife.
Go love her as your earthly best.
Beyond this venture not. But, lest
Your love become a fool’s facade,
Be sure to love her less than God.

It is not wise or kind to call
An idol by sweet names, and fall,
As in humility, before
A likeness of your God. Adore,
Above your best beloved on earth,
The God alone who gives her worth.

And she will know in second place
That your great love is also grace,
And that your high affections now
Are flowing freely from a vow
Beneath these promises, first made
To you by God. Nor will they fade.

For being rooted by the stream
Of Heaven’s Joy, which you esteem
And cherish more than breath and life,
That you may give it to your wife.
The greatest gift you give your wife
Is loving God above her life.

And thus I bid you now to bless:
Go love her more by loving less.


[Photo: Reeves Photography]

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